2.2: Topic Sentences
Topic sentences are sort of like thesis statements for your body paragraphs. A clear topic sentence will establish the main idea of the paragraph so that the reader understands what each body paragraph is about. The topic sentence does not need to be the very first sentence of the paragraph, but it should be near the beginning.
When writing the topic sentence for a body paragraph, consider the main idea of the paragraph. If you have already chosen the subpoints for your essay, it will make it even easier, since the each body paragraphs will focus on one subpoint. Our example writer’s topic sentences may sound something like the sentences below:
- Topic Sentence for Body Paragraph 1: The first step I will take to getting a better job is to finish school.
- Topic Sentence for Body Paragraph 2: Next, I will work toward getting a better job by preparing a resume.
- Topic Sentence for Body Paragraph 3: The final step I plan to take to get a better job is to search for jobs.
You will notice that each of these sentences uses key words—“first, next, and final”—to transition between each paragraph. This is a very smart thing to do when writing your topic sentences, because words like these help your reader follow your points and connect them to one another. For more examples of transition words and phrases, see Lesson 4 on word choice.
Now you try! Write three topic sentences that correspond to the three subpoints you have chosen in response to the sample essay topic. Remember to keep the sentences clear and focused on the main idea of each body paragraph.
For more information about organizing your essay, please visit these Purdue OWL resources:
- Introductions, Body Paragraphs, and Conclusions for Argument Papers
- Paragraphs and Paragraphing
- Transitions and Transitional Devices
To practice responding to a writing prompt, please use the CWEST GED Essay Game.